I got extremely lucky with my shop heating issue, and hopefully what I ended up doing will be helpful to some of you, too
Last time, I talked about needing to warm up my shop. Cold working conditions are no longer a matter of just sucking it up and wearing layers – my aging hands just don’t function well when cold. So, I had a qualified HVAC guy take a look at my shop setup.
A bit of background: When finishing the basement, the contractors disconnected one of the ducts running to the bedroom overhead and redirected it to my basement office. The bedroom had five(!) vents, and that room was like a furnace in winter and a refrigerator in summer, so losing a vent was a wash. And since we always kept another bedroom vent closed, and the vent in the upstairs laundry room closed year-round, everything equaled out when I cut in two new vents in the shop.
But, could I add more vents downstairs without upsetting the heating/cooling balance of the whole house? I had no idea. Turns out that, yeah, I could. My HVAC guy, upon examining my system, pronounced it large enough to handle more vents.
The living area of our home is just shy of 2,000 sq. ft. – 1,982 sq. ft., to be exact – and I guess when they design heating/cooler ductwork and power plants that 2,000 sq. ft. is kind of a cutoff point for sizing furnaces and air conditioners. (At least for our location and particular house design; your mileage my vary.) The original builder could have installed a system rated to a max of 2,000 sq. ft. and called it a day. Instead, they went with a system that starts at that cutoff point, meaning we have a bit of HVAC power to spare, further meaning that additional vents downstairs are no problem at all. And with that in mind, I can add two more vents in the main shop to spread some of that lovely heat around, plus a vent in my wife’s glass studio adjacent to my woodshop area.
But here’s the thing: I never knew any of this without consulting a pro HVAC guy, and I’m guessing you might be in the same boat. Since I can do the vent and ductwork myself, all I ended up paying for was a consulting visit to evaluate my system. If you’re like me and finding yourself less tolerant to cold as we age, I recommend you do the same thing. You may be surprised that the solution to a cold shop is easier than you think.